Macaroni Kid's Interview with Elizabeth Lorayne

Meet Piratess Tilly at the Custom House Museum Family Fun Days

By Emily Cowan, Editor/Publisher
Apr 11, 2017

April's Family Fun Days sail into the Custom House Maritime Museum next week, along with a special appearance by Piratess Tilly, the heroine of two critically acclaimed books by local author and Newburyport mom Elizabeth Lorayne. We caught up with Elizabeth to find out more about the book series and its focus on a smart, strong female character who loves science and exploration.

Newburyport Macaroni Kid: Many children's-book authors are inspired to write because they perceive a gap in representation for a certain kind of kid. Did you feel that there was something missing from bookshelves?

Elizabeth Lorayne: When I first felt inspired to create the character of Piratess Tilly, I had observed a huge gap on the bookshelves. I saw far too few picture books with strong, intelligent, compassionate, relatable (to me), adventuresome heroines, let alone ones interested in science and history. And I therefore wanted more for my own daughter and for myself – I even wanted to see someone who represented pieces of myself as a child because I imagined I wasn't the only one who was was curious about nature. Or who cared about saving the animals and the planet. Or who was a leader. Or who loved being outside – on the water sailing. 

Continue reading the full interview here!

Happy 150th Birthday to Beatrix Potter: conservationist, scientist, artist, author and businesswoman!

Beatrix Potter 150th birthday tribute

Today is Beatrix Potter's 150th birthday! And what a day it is in England, with celebrations, an auction selling some of her original works and a series of Royal Mail stamps depicting several of her famous characters.

Some of what inspired me to include Beatrix Potter as one of Piratess Tilly's heroes is Potter's dedication to land conservationism. With the money she made from her books, she bought the adjoining lands and farms in the Lake District of England in order to save and protect them — eventually donating 4,000 acres of land and 15 farms to the National Trust.

Piratess Tilly Potter and Darwin sample pageBeatrix Potter was also passionate about botany and specifically the study of fungi — a scientist in her own right, she developed her own theory on how fungi spores reproduced. Her scientific paper was never properly published, but scientists today still recognize her contribution to mycology.

Potter was also not only a talented artist and writer, but she was a keen businesswoman — creating and licensing the first ever literary character doll and other accompanying accessories. And, as so many know, she published her first book, The Tales of Peter Rabbit, on her own — a self-publisher! I look forward to one day visiting the Lake District and seeing for myself the beauty that inspired such a phenomenal, adventurous woman.

PIratess Tilly Beatrix Potter Picture books

And as The Adventures of Piratess Tilly is a children's picture book, I'd like to take a moment to share two children's picture books that my little one and I enjoy about Beatrix Potter: Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box by David McPhail and Beatrix Potter by Alexandra Wallner. I have also ordered this newly released book: Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig, written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Charlotte Voake. I look forward to adding it to our collection!

 Learn more about Beatrix Potter here!

Sharing Roots and Meeting Karen Watson

It is a powerful and meaningful moment to share aspects of your childhood experience with your own 4 year old daughter and husband. We recently traveled to Seattle, WA, journeyed up north to the San Juan Islands and further still to Victoria, B.C. I hadn't spent any decent amount of time in those areas in over 10 years, long before the birth of Piratess Tilly.

It was both exciting and overwhelming to witness and explore hand-in-hand with my daughter the very same docks, shorelines and boats that I had as a child. It quickly became clear how deeply rooted those formative experiences are in my psyche -- there is no doubt that Piratess Tilly was inspired by my own childhood adventures!

To top off this meaningful trip, I finally got to meet Karen Watson, the extremely talented artist behind the watercolors to Piratess Tilly. It was like meeting an old friend! We both laughed at how incredible it is that we've created two picture books without ever meeting in person or even talking on the phone -- it has been all done through email! I cannot help but feel that it is particularly special and synchronistic that we are both from the Pacific Northwest. There is no doubt, in my mind, that this has greatly influenced our bond and our work together on the Piratess Tilly series.

I feel very fortunate to have shared all of this (plus so much more in Seattle itself!) with my family and to have finally met Karen Watson -- what a remarkable summer this has been!

 

 

 

Newburyport Maritime Days Recap!

Somehow between the end of the school year and the beginning of summer, the last few weeks have flown by! I am most excited to finally share the wonderful reception The Adventures of Piratess Tilly had at the Newburyport Maritime Days event over Memorial Day weekend.

I first want to say 'wow!' The entire week that the 16th Century Spanish tall ship, El Galeón was here in Newburyport was not just exciting for our city, but it ended up being an incredibly magical experience for me. Through the Custom House Maritime Museum, I had the opportunity to meet with the captain of the ship - the only female captain of a tall ship in the world! I presented Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez with a copy of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly and from that moment, time melted away as we spoke for over two hours. I've written an article about this interview and you can read about it here.

With that experience of meeting Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez coupled with the backdrop of a tall ship in our port, I went into the 3-day event beaming - and I couldn't be more thrilled with how it unfolded! Although the weather was rather finicky, one day being 90 degrees and the next being cold and windy, the overall reception was incredible.

People whole-heartedly loved the entire concept of Piratess Tilly - the haiku, the art, the girl-empowerment, the conservationism. They loved the dolls and the blank greeting cards - all of the add-ons I've created.  And lastly, but in no small way, they seemed to love meeting me - the author and publisher. I always offered to sign the book and the look of excitement the children got was not just meaningful - it was magical.

I started prepping for this 3 day event a few weeks before. As it was my first outdoor event, I was starting from scratch. I bought an E-Z UP Envoy Instant Shelter Canopy and it truly was easy to set-up. I scouted Marshalls for baskets to hold the books and plushies, picture frames for prices, industry reviews and awards, and a tray to hold the blank greeting cards I ordered from Moo that featured Karen Watson's artwork from the book.

The second line of business was all of the signage and extra add-ons. I used one of the images from the book to create a tapestry through Society6. The tapestry made a perfect, eye-catching table cloth!

 

maritime days prep 3 blog 

I designed a  2.5'x4' banner through VistaPrint and kept my fingers crossed I'd be able to easily hang it up. ;)  I then employed Kendra Shedenhelm to create a coloring poster with her doll and tool illustrations, with the idea that kids would stop and color it on their way to the ship. Inspired by the poster design, I created coloring postcards to hand out to kids who stopped by my table. Although the coloring poster didn't work out, the postcards did! One side featured either Piratess Tilly or Yuki, while the other was a collage of her tools. I ran out of the 100 postcards by the middle of day 2 so started to pass out Piratess Tilly and Yuki stickers instead.

maritime days prep 1 blog

Just a few days before the event, I felt inspired to create a small, double-sided card to enclose with each purchase. One side featured the Australian Koala Foundation, of which a portion of sales go towards, and the other had a condensed definition of a "Piratess." These I printed myself on my laser printer and cut by hand.

maritime days prep 2 blog.jpg

I also had information displayed about the other artists and crafters who have helped to create the Piratess Tilly and Yuki plushies and the custom-made Piratess Tilly rag doll by Phoebe&Egg. A special thank you to Gretchen Joy for her work as local seamstress and a big thank you to Kendra Shedenhelm who worked with me for a year to design the plushies!

Thank you to everyone who came out and stopped by the Piratess Tilly tent! It won't be our last event, that is for sure. So please, stay tuned!

maritime days thank you

 

 

All Hands on Deck for Girl-Empowerment: My Interview with Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez of El Galeón

Captain Rosario and Elizabeth Lorayne_150 rgb web.jpg May 27, 2016  Interview with Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez of tall ship El Galeón docked in Newburyport, MA written by Elizabeth Lorayne.

There was magic in the air that morning of Friday, May 27th. Not only was the 16th century Spanish tall ship replica, El Galeón, in Newburyport’s harbor, but I was scheduled to meet the captain, the only female captain of a tall ship in the world. The synchronicity of this opportunity left me feeling giddy as I walked the enlivened streets of Newburyport to the ship. This special meeting was arranged by the Newburyport Custom House Maritime Museum because of my children’s picture book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. Piratess Tilly is the captain of her own ship and leads her crew on naturalist expeditions. It felt all too pertinent that I give a copy of the book to a real female captain. 

Boarding El Galeón, walking topside, past the hundreds of salt water infused lines, and simultaneously ducking while stepping over the lip of the doorway; immediately sent me back to my formative years sailing and boating 60 miles northeast of Seattle, WA in the San Juan Islands. Upon meeting Captain Rosario Fernandez Rodriguez, I immediately felt a kinship, while her gracious confidence reminded me of my task at hand.

Once seated on the wooden benches in the galley, I presented her with my book. Her eyes lit up at the cover showing young Piratess Tilly at the helm of her own tall ship. Rosario immediately related to the many purposes of the book. She loved the poetry and the art, but mostly she loved the girl-empowerment and the educational features of Piratess Tilly and her crew’s life aboard the ship.

Tucked inside the book I had a few questions I hoped Rosario would be willing to answer. Little did I know we would speak for the next two hours, discussing her own childhood sailing and some of her experiences becoming a female captain.

Was there a specific moment from your childhood that contributed directly to your desire to work on and eventually captain a tall ship?

Rosario grew up in Arcos de la Frontera, Spain, where her family lived some 300ft from a lake. It was on this lake that her passion for sailing was born. When Rosario was a child, her father and his friends often sailed a 420 sailboat,

“I remember being seated on to the top of the box for the keel and I remember perfectly the color of the hull, and also the shape of the sail completely, full of wind. I remember that I liked it a lot.”

From that formative moment she seized the opportunity to sail her father’s friends windsurfing board. She didn’t know how to sail, but she persevered and managed to sail across the lake. When she reached the other side, she didn’t know how to return against the wind, so she paddled atop the board! From that moment she knew she needed to learn how to sail properly.

Her father took his own passion for sailing and worked to build a sailing club, the Arcos Sailing Club. Rosario explained that because Arcos de la Frontera is 70 miles from the coast, it took some time to show the local community and councilmen the advantages of sailing as a sport. Her father was determined and after receiving several donated 420 sailboats from clubs on the coast, his own sailing club took flight.  Pride overfilled her eyes as she told me about the hours she spent helping him repair the boats in preparation for their club. A few years later, when she was 13, in conjunction with a club on the coast, they were ready to offer sailing lessons. Rosario quickly decided she wanted to become a certified sailing instructor, which she accomplished a few years later.

When did you decide to become a captain?

While attending courses in art history at university, Rosario spent every free moment teaching. Once she finished school, she quickly realized she was truly happiest on the water.  She then decided to make sailing her way of living, saying she,

“wanted to have my own ship, I want to charter my own ship, I want to become a captain of my ship, but I didn’t think of being a captain of a tall ship at that moment,” laughing with amusement at the major role she eventually attained.

What are your favorite aspects to both working on and captaining a tall ship?

When meeting and spending time with Rosario it is not hard to see how seriously she takes her role as captain, from how she oversees her crew, expecting them to always be maintaining the ship and learning, to her own willingness to learn,

“I like that I am all of the time teaching, I like that, but also I am all the time learning. And also I get to know many many different places and many different people. It’s also a way of knowing myself or trying to know myself and I try also to learn about everything to be a better person and captain. I try.”

What would you say to young girls who have big dreams and goals?

With the girl-empowerment aspect of The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, I was curious to hear what this real life female captain would say to young girls,

“Everything is possible if you work towards it. I mean, if you work, focusing, you can get it, you can get it.”

Rosario explained to me some of the hardships she’d experienced as a woman trying to become a captain. She often faced disbelief by boat owners, who would instead offer her jobs as a stewardess. Her perseverance and patience endured and she went from captaining a dredger ship to captaining the Nao Victoria and El Galeón. Even as our time together was coming to end, it was clear to me how important this question was to Rosario as she came back to it saying,

“If you work hard, if you focus on what you want and if you are full of what you want, you can do it. And if someone wants to restrict you, just try to smile and look to the other side and go the other way. Take the other door - the other paths - there are many, many paths. Just try another one.”

Elizabeth Lorayne is the author of the award-winning children’s picture book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. A native Seattleite and the granddaughter of Admiral Walter T. Griffith, she feels most at home near water, which makes living in Newburyport, MA most appropriate. She is an artist and writer, who enjoys hiking and creating art with her family. You can contact her by email ElizabethLorayne@gmail.com or through her books website PiratessTilly.com The sequel to The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, taking place on Easter Island, is due out this October.

Birthday Tribute Haiku: Dr. Jane Goodall

Today is Dr. Jane Goodall's 82nd birthday. She has inspired so many, including myself. I took a primate biology class my senior year of high school and remember being awe-struck by her fearlessness, observation, brilliance, passion and perseverance. She continues to speak and share her decades of experiences in the jungle, while calling upon each of us to own our individual responsibility in caring for and protecting our environment. For those with children and teens, I encourage you to read more about Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots community action programs. It's a wonderful way to inspire our youth and to keep Dr. Goodall's spirit prominent.

We owe so much to her grace and hard work bringing the world together in the name of Conservationism. I have taken a moment today to write a haiku in honor of Dr. Goodall. It's been combined with my very first collagraph, which was inspired by a riverbed. May each of us take a moment today to meditate upon her legacy and upon the importance of fighting for Mother Nature. 

Dr-Jane-Goodall-Tribute-Birthday-Haiku

Plushie Dolls Update!

Woohoo!!! The Piratess Tilly and Yuki handmade plushies are good to go! I am so excited!!! What a process and experience to get to this point! A special thanks to Kendra Shedenhelm for her amazing work on these! Stay tuned -- I'll be listing the first set in the next week!          

Custom Koala Yuki Gift Wrap!

Introducing wrapping paper designed to be colored by kids (and adults!). A special thank you to the illustrator, Kendra Shedenhelm (kendrashedenhelm.com)! It will be offered complimentary with purchases made this holiday season! Stay tuned for more details. Yuki_Wrapping_Paper_Pattern_Social Media

Independent Publishers of New England Interview

Honored to share Elizabeth Lorayne's interview with the Independent Publishers of New England! You can also read it here!
It is our pleasure to highlight IPNE member and children's author Elizabeth Lorayne for this edition of Learn from Your Peers. Elizabeth will be at the Boston Book Festival on Saturday, October 24th for an IPNE author signing event.

When did you know you were a writer? I think my personal acknowledgment that I am a writer came from realizing that I tend to communicate better through writing and that my desire to then share those thoughts, stories, characters, and visuals was truly a part of who I am. I have been writing since childhood, often stories inspired by dreams. As I got older, I took to journaling and writing poetry as ways to express myself. My writing abilities became more refined through numerous writing courses in high school and college and just simply with practice. Writing haiku, as how I’ve written the book, came from a need to get back to being creative. At the time I started writing haiku, my daughter was six months old and we were deep in an all-consuming house restoration. There was no real access, time or energy for my usual art — collage and printmaking. I had started a blog and through the Wordpress community I was reconnected with haiku. I researched the traditional forms of haiku, how they are usually about nature and have a surprise twist or ending. From there, I let myself play and experiment.

What does your writing process look like? That really depends on what kind of writing I’m working on, but in general my process includes quieting my mind and not overthinking — just writing. For the haiku in The Adventures of Piratess Tilly, I have found that for the more educational pieces, simple information or visual references are more than enough for me to create the haiku. As for the pieces I’ve created on my own, I simply interweave bits of my own childhood and younger self into the overall story. One of the reasons I feel the haiku works so well for a children’s picture book is because it can be descriptive and yet open ended. It gives the reader and audience a great deal of room for their own imagination even alongside the beautiful artwork. It gives the reader their own sense of involvement and I love that!

Tell us about your book, The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. The Adventures of Piratess Tilly follows a young adventurous and compassionate girl, Tilly, on her sailing quest to document the flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands. Her crew consists of seven orphaned boys from around the world and her best friend Yuki, a koala she rescued in Australia. As budding naturalists they spend their time on the ship reading Charles Darwin, sketching, painting, and documenting their nature finds. Once they arrive, they see the beautiful landscape and spot several animals. They even come upon pirates! And those pirates just happen to be smuggling baby Giant Tortoises. So of course Piratess Tilly, Yuki, and the brothers create a plan to rescue them and return them to their family! The story was greatly inspired by my upbringing: bike riding, boating, and exploring the shorelines of the Pacific Northwest, as well as from studying primatology, and anthropology as a young adult. And once I had a daughter, I realized how much I wanted to create and share a strong, independent, curious, intelligent, and compassionate female lead. I wanted my daughter to grow up reading about a young female captain, who was intelligent and perfectly capable of adventure and leadership. And this is certainly not the last story with Piratess Tilly! I have finished writing the second book and have begun the illustration process with Karen Watson. We have all set sail for Easter Island! So please stay tuned!

Why did you choose to self-publish? I primarily chose to self-publish because I wanted full control over the book. I wanted to find the illustrator myself and work with her closely. I also wanted to build my own publishing company in hopes expanding one day to include publishing other girl-empowering works by women. I suppose I’ve always been someone who never fit the mold and I knew that what I had created was out of the norm, and therefore to me, that much more worthy of publishing it myself.

What roadblocks or obstacles did you face? I think the actual book production was the biggest obstacle. I wanted to print in the U.S.A, but the costs were prohibitive for what I wanted with my book: hardcover with dust-jacket, offset printing, 32 pages, 8 1/2” by 11 size, and a smaller run.

How do you balance being a mom with writing and promoting a book? Honestly, I’m not really sure. I somehow get a lot accomplished in several two minute increments throughout the day! My daughter is now just over three years old so she is attending a morning program, which allows me the focused time I need for promotion, research, writing blog posts, or creating the graphics for postcards and social media posts. I’ve found though, that if I’m in haiku writing mode, I tend to be very distracted for those few days; however meals always need to be made and everyday life still goes by regardless. I allow for those everyday routines to give my mind time to mull over ideas. It all seems to work out in the end and everyone gets what they need!

Other than IPNE, what are some other valuable resources for children's authors and publishers? I became a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators right away when I felt my story was ready and that I was serious about publication. They are a fabulous organization and I highly recommend joining. They have bicoastal and regional conferences as well as meet-ups and online forums. It was through them that I found the illustrator, Karen Watson! I also suggest taking a class on writing for children. It isn’t as easy as people tend to first believe. Having an understanding of those guidelines is definitely helpful. I had taken a course in college on writing for young adults. Although that isn’t the same as picture book writing, it still helped me.

How did you choose the illustrations for your book? How did you structure your working relationship with the illustrator? Working with Karen Watson was absolutely wonderful! I gave her written descriptions of how I wanted each page. She not only executed my ideas perfectly, she also added so much fine detail and on a particular page I was stuck on, she came up with a wonderful setting. As I had never done this before, Karen guided me through her own process. I loved getting an email with several pages worth of initial sketches, then line drawings, and finally the finished painted pages. Her work is both meticulous and whimsical, which is perfect for Piratess Tilly, who is studious and fun-loving!

What advice do you have for other indie publishers? How can we find your book? Don’t give up! If you believe in your book and what you’ve created gives you a sense of pride, then do whatever you can to get it into the hands of readers and supporters. Also, be creative with marketing, think outside of the box. For instance, I donated a few books to the Galapagos Conservancy, where the proceeds will go to benefitting their many programs. Not only does that tie into the book, it supports something important and there is no saying what that relationship will become. Also take chances! No matter how nervous I was, I sent The Adventures of Piratess Tilly for a Kirkus Review and was overwhelmingly relieved they understood and appreciated the book! Because of that I felt confident to send the book to Publishers Weekly and got another good review. I believed in the book and the overall product of what was created! Go for it! You can find The Adventures of Piratess Tilly on the book’s website: http://piratesstilly.com and on Amazon. Feel free to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or the blog for more updates on local stores and more sites.

We won a Moonbeam Children's Book Award!

Moonbeam Sociam Media We are incredibly honored and thrilled to announce that The Adventures of Piratess Tilly has won its first children’s book award!! We were 1 of 5 to win a very special award, the Moonbeam Spirit Award for Exploration, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. See the full list of winners here!

This Moonbeam Spirit Award is “for dedication to children’s books and literacy and for inspired writing, illustrating and publishing. This year we chose books in five different areas. All recipients will receive gold medals.” The other 4 categories for this Spirit Award are: Creativity, Compassion, Imagination and Preservation.

A little bit about Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, which is in its 9th year:

“Creating books that inspire our children to read, to learn, and to dream is an extremely important task, and these awards were conceived to reward those efforts. Each year's entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages. Award recipients receive gold, silver and bronze medals and stickers depicting a mother and child reading and silhouetted by a full moon.”

More info to follow once the press release is up!!

Piratess Tilly in . . . Easter Island!

I am beyond thrilled to announce that Karen Watson and I are moving forward with the next book in The Adventure of Piratess Tilly series! She and her crew are headed to Easter Island! Here is the very first watercolor illustration!  

Piratess Tilly Easter Island Promo

Galapagos Conservancy!

I donated a few books to the Galapagos Conservancy whose mission is: "... to advance and support the conservation of the unique biodiversity and ecosystems of Galapagos through directed research, informed public policy, and building a sustainable society." With each purchase from their e-gift shop, the proceeds go to "supporting the important marine and terrestrial conservation programs taking place in the Galapagos Islands." Within the first week, 2 of the 3 books were purchased and another week later, the last book was no longer listed! I am so pleased the books sold quickly to benefit the Galapagos Conservancy! Here's a a screen shot of the book listed on their page. Had I realized they would sell so fast, I would have gotten a screen shot of the actual product page as well. :)

 

Piratess Tilly Galapagos Conservancy

8/10/15 Publishers Weekly Review!

Our review from Publishers Weekly is in! Another nod to Charles Darwin and praise for our courageous, eco-conscious heorine, Piratess Tilly.

Tilly—tough, daring, and scientifically minded—is a capable heroine with an enviable life at sea. -Publishers Weekly

 

Publishers Weekly Review as seen on 8/10/15:

"Lorayne crafts an environmentally focused adventure told through haikus and punctuated by moments of excitement. Piratess Tilly, a brunette girl in patchwork jeans, travels on the research vessel Foster with a crew of young sailors from around the globe and her fedora-wearing koala, Yuki. Watson depicts Tilly and Yuki’s time aboard the ship in gentle watercolors with light fantasy elements. Tilly and Yuki read Charles Darwin and Beatrix Potter in their cozy cabin, a smiling crescent moon shining through the window, and collect nature specimens to study and sketch: “Many days passing/ Best used for examining/ What would Darwin think?” The plot turns from wildlife examination to conservation when Tilly and the crew discover that nefarious pirates are smuggling baby giant tortoises from the Galápagos Islands. In a perilous—albeit brief—mission, Tilly and her crewmates rescue the tortoises and release them into the sea. While the sequence of haikus can make for a slightly herky-jerky narrative, Tilly—tough, daring, and scientifically minded—is a capable heroine with an enviable life at sea. Ages 4–8. (BookLife) "

View the review here!

Thank you again for all of the support!

~ E.L.

Custom Piratess Tilly Rag Doll!

  Tilly+the+Piratess

For Mother's Day this year, I ordered myself a custom Piratess Tilly rag doll by Lisa of Phoebe & Egg. I found Lisa's beautiful handmade dolls through Etsy. Working with her was wonderful! She is so passionate about her craft. I sent her a copy of the book for reference. Little did I know, she would use it to create so many detailed accessories, including Tilly's pink fuzzy slippers, a map, satchel, striped shirt and of course, the eye patch!!

Lisa is truly talented and her work is incredible. Below are some photos from when my daughter, Vivi (age 3) and I opened the box for the first time! Lisa also wrote a lovely blog post about her experience creating this rag doll version of Piratess Tilly. You can read that here! Thank you!

 

 

World Oceans Day 2015!

It's World Oceans Day today! How will you help to protect our oceans?!

"World Oceans Day, held every June 8th, is the United Nations-recognized day of ocean celebration and action. People all over our blue planet organize celebrations – which can be a huge event in your community, a special announcement, or anything in between – to support action to protect the ocean. This year, the theme is Healthy oceans, healthy planet, and we’re making a special effort to stop plastic pollution."

http://www.worldoceansday.org/

Piratess Tilly World Oceans Day whale pages

Piratess Tilly's Kirkus Review!

I am thrilled to share the glowing Kirkus review for The Adventures of Piratess Tilly. I am so excited, too, that the actual story being told through haiku has been so well accepted! A special thanks to each of you for your support!

A few highlights:

"Lorayne has written a thoughtful take on the pirate genre, with a female-led crew focused on science and discovery. There’s a strong awareness of ecology, though the text also still works as an adventure. The seamlessly incorporated haiku poems also work well, serving as an appreciable introduction to the poetic form for young readers. In addition to being lovely poems, the haiku clearly explain the moment." -Kirkus Reviews

One more:

"Tells a thoughtful, eco-conscious story with a strong female lead, ideal for kids interested in poetry and adventure." -Kirkus Reviews

KIRKUS REVIEW

"In this picture book, an adventurous girl and her crew of orphaned boys sail the high seas and intercept a band of pirates kidnapping tortoises.

Told in haiku, Lorayne’s debut picture book, with illustrations by Watson, introduces readers to Tilly, a girl with a courageous spirit and patched jeans who sails around the world on the Foster with her crew of orphaned boys. Together with Yuki, a koala Tilly rescued from Australia, they use a compass and star chart to explore the ocean, all while cataloging, sketching, and studying what they find, including whales, birds, and other sea life. All is calm until they head to the Galapagos Islands and spy pirates kidnapping baby giant tortoises. The crew of the Foster doesn’t hesitate to act and steal onto the pirates’ ship to right the wrong. Lorayne has written a thoughtful take on the pirate genre, with a female-led crew focused on science and discovery. There’s a strong awareness of ecology, though the text also still works as an adventure. The seamlessly incorporated haiku poems also work well, serving as an appreciable introduction to the poetic form for young readers. In addition to being lovely poems, the haiku clearly explain the moment. For instance, “Just off the port side / Magnificence of the sea / Humpback whales surface.” With such little text, Watson’s artwork has ample space on the page to help illustrate what’s happening. The beautiful watercolors feature rich colors and intricate details. Some of the vocabulary and references, such as one to Darwin, could be challenging for young readers, so the story offers plenty of opportunities for further investigation in the classroom or at home.

Tells a thoughtful, eco-conscious story with a strong female lead, ideal for kids interested in poetry and adventure." --Kirkus Reviews

To see the review on Kirkus, visit here!

Thank you,

Elizabeth Lorayne

An Interview with Author Elizabeth Lorayne!

A special thank you to the Greater Newburyport Mothers and Familes Club for the lovely interview (and for granting me permission to share it with all of you!) as their 'Member Spotlight' in the current newsletter! A highlight from the interview:

I hope that children feel inspired to be their own captain ~ to explore, question, study, observe, give back and be a part of their community. I hope that seeing a girl be the leader of her crew, her ship and her rescue missions not only empowers young girls, but influences young boys too.

*** As I'm sure the interview was too long, it seems a paragraph was cut. I'm posting it below. It's in regards to the question about advice for others who are interested in writing. ***

"For others interested in writing or specifically writing for children, I would suggest taking a writing class. Writing for children is actually not as easy as some people tend to think and there are helpful guidelines to know ahead of time. I would also suggest joining the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. They're a fantastic organization with forums and regional conferences as well as meet-ups and workshops. "

I hope you enjoy the interview! 

Piratess Tilly Elizabeth Lorayne Mothers Club Interview

Piratess Tilly's "Drawn to Story" art show

Karen Watson's solo art show, "Drawn to Story"  will be featuring the original artwork to The Adventures of Piratess Tilly! If you able to join her for the opening, July 26th from 1-3pm at the Gallery @ Artisan Square on Bowen Island in British Columbia, we would be thrilled! Books will be available for purchase as well!  

Drawn to Story Piratess Tilly art show

Piratess Tilly's 7 Favorite Girl-Empowering Picture Books

Piratess Tilly Favorite Girl Empowering Picture Books Piratess Tilly’s 7 Favorite Girl-Empowering Picture Books

As someone who wants to promote strong female-lead characters and stories to my young daughter, I thought I would share (in no particular order) some of our current favorite picture books. And as Piratess Tilly (from The Adventures of Piratess Tilly written by Elizabeth Lorayne and illustrated by Karen Watson) is a curious naturalist who is also a  leader, explorer and protector, I tend to lean towards books that instill such qualities. I hope you find this list inspiring and helpful!

1. Butterfly Park by Elly Mackay

I have a passion for collage and anything paper related so I was particularly thrilled to discover this unique and stunning picture book designed with paper-cut illustration! Add a beautiful story of a young girl who longs to rebuild a neighborhood butterfly garden by sharing her curiosity and passion with her local community, and I am wholly inspired and touched.

2. Deer Dancer written by Mary Lyn Ray and illustrated by Lauren Stringer

A lovely story about a young girl who finds her inner strength, her “voice”, through dancing in a field where she meets a deer. She practices with the deer, both dancing to a silent song by Mother Nature. The whimsical and lively illustrations perfectly accentuate this empowering story of self-discovery through perseverance, movement and nature.

3. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

A personal favorite of mine. One that I remember from my own childhood. We follow Miss Rumphius as she pursues her childhood dreams and goals of traveling and eventually settling down by the sea. Her ultimate goal, one that was bestowed on her by her grandfather, of contributing to the world by doing something beautiful, tugs at her heart. She eventually feels inspired by nature and spreads beauty throughout the countryside! A magnificent, gentle story of self-reliance and finding beauty in small acts.

4. Journey by Aaron Becker

An absolutely remarkable book. It is a story without words ~ just amazing artwork that truly inspires the imagination. Without the words, it is a fabulous way to encourage and invite young people to tell the story they see. That alone is empowering!

5. Ladybug Girl (at the beach) by David Soman and Jacky Davis

We found these books (it’s a lovely series) when my daughter was an infant. We’ve both enjoyed being a part of Ladybug Girl’s adventures. They are friendly, while also subtly teaching about bravery, or empathy or compassion, for instance. The beach story is a personal favorite as it follows Ladybug Girl while she visits the beach for the first time ~ an experience that can be overwhelming and frightening. It is fun reading and seeing, in the lovely watercolors, how Ladybug Girl plays and investigates the beach!

6. Rosie Revere, Engineer written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts

Quite the lyrical tale of a small girl who wants to be an engineer! The artwork is fantastic and fun. The historical reference to the original Rosie the Riveter is lovely and intriguing ~ an uplifting story of learning perseverance and the importance of following your heart, even when mistakes are made.

7. Me. . . Jane by Patrick McDonnell

For someone who grew up admiring Dr. Jane Goodall, I knew this book would be enjoyed by myself and my daughter. It is a cute and inspiring account of who Dr. Goodall was as a child and how those interests, her patience, her research and her determination lead her to become as revered and important as she is today. An empowering story told simply and beautifully, followed by a call to action ~ ways to get involved and help make the world a better place.

Piratess Tilly Hand-sewn Doll!

I've been working this week on a hand-sewn Piratess Tilly doll! I'm quite pleased with how it turned out! It measures about 3 inches in height. My hope and plan is to offer it for sale along with a a sort of play "house." I'm working on the logistics of a folding play venue featuring open-ended scenes from book. I hope you enjoy the pictures below! For more frequent updates, please follow us on Facebook! Thanks!!  

Piratess Tilly Hand Sewn Doll

Tilly Doll House Ocean Side

 

Tilly Doll House Stateroom